Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another blogging hiatus

I will be offline for two weeks or until I find a place to connect again... Our German internet provider said it takes that long before they hook us up :-( Ok, so Germans have a different take on customer service than Americans. Even the most basic products and services are described in explicit, almost technical, detail but to get your hands on them takes a little longer.

B and I were looking at irons online the other day. We had to smile when we read about the exact amount of water a tank holds, the exact number of holes on the sole plate and about the pressure at which the steam comes out. In the US, we'd go to Target or Walmart and we had the option to pick the prettiest color or go by price.

So, I won't be cuddled up behind the comfort of my computer screen. A little fresh air will do me good and I'll have that much more to blog about when I return....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Top Ten Lessons

Top ten lessons learned from living in Limboland (the time spent living in hotels between moving from the old home into the new home):

1. If you keep any kind of username and password on a piece of paper, do not let the movers pack it.

2. Pack American bedding (blanket, sheets) if you are allergic to or cannot sleep under heavy, hotel down comforters.

3. Do all your banking way, way, way in advance.

4. Familiarze yourself with German road signs. When you are hurtling down the Autobahn at 100+ miles an hour, it is life-threatening to pause for a nanosecond to ponder what they mean.

5. Do not move in the winter. Germany just doesn't look as inviting and you want to be excited about your new home away from home.

6. Really explore extended stay options in depth - our 4-star residence hotel claims to have apartments but we are living in two rooms and two bathrooms (one of which was converted into a pseudo-kitchen; the defunct toilet flusher panel is above the stove). There is no fitness room and they are nickle and diming us for everything. But the hotel is close to B's work so we don't mind.

7. Be prepared to show your S-bahn ticket to officials who do not wear uniforms.

8. As an example to German children everywhere, do not cross the street unless you get the green little street light guy telling you to do so. If a child sees you break this rule, they will let you know, especially because there are small signs at pedestrian crossings reminding you to serve as their example.

9. Not everything is closed on Sundays in Germany - the Plus market in my neighborhood has a bakery open from 7am to 11am.

10. Rent the smallest car possible - and get the kind with a navigation system and a rear bumper sensor. Initially, you don't know what lies ahead or who is behind you.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008

What the heck are we doing here???

I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks of the same thing upon arrival and for about several months after landing in a foreign country. Culture shock. I'm suffering all the symptoms right now... It actually has me wishing for McDonalds signs whereever we go.

I've neglected my blogging duties... We have been living in several hotels the past couple of months and connectivity was not always easy to come by or used for other more pressing needs like emails, banking, etc. Living in hotels adds to my sense of limbo.

The name of my blog will need to change to American in Oberursel. We never did find an apartment we liked in Bad Homburg. Could be the time of year. But the place that we are going to live in is awesome - slanted walls, a spiral staircase to our loft, with bike and walking trails right outside our door.

I miss convenience most of all. We arrived in Munich, where we are staying temporarily, with the mother of all colds and found ourselves hunting for the one pharmacy that is open for emergencies during holidays and after hours (in our case, New Years Eve) .

I am reminded of Heidelbergerin's blog that talks about the holistic effects of German medicine. All I can say is, load up on cold medicine before you get here. The German version of Nyquil just boozes you up and has absolutely no effect on your sinuses. It also costs close to $17. You might as well drink beer which tastes much better.

Munich is awesome. Too bad we are here in January but, I purchased a monthly train pass and have been seeing the sights - the Glockenspiel on the Marienplatz, the Asamkirche, the Haus der Kunst, the surfers on the river outside the Haus der Kunst etc. I check out the good touristy spots and take B to my favorites on the weekend.

B is going through his own culture shock. He can understand some Germans just fine and at other times he has no idea what people are talking about. I have the same problem but it seems to be mostly linked to the poor sound on our hotel television.

I'll try to post more regularly again. It depends how fast we get connectivity once we settle in Oberursel.